Teatro La Fenice history and curiosities

Teatro La Fenice storia e curiosità

Among the things to do in Venice in the evening, we recommend to treat yourself an evening at the La Fenice Theatre. To experience the thrill of attending a performance in one of the world’s oldest and most beautiful theatres is priceless, especially if once you have left, the show continues through the calle of a timeless city: our Venice. 

Not sure how to dress for an evening at the Teatro la Fenice? In our article on the Dress-Code required, you wull ind all the information needed.

La Fenice Theatre: a bit of history

The La Fenice Theatre was inaugurated on 16 May 1792, the day of the Festa della Sensa. It was built according to the design of Gian Antonio Selva. In 1836 was in danger of disappearing forever due to a violent fire. Its name was not chosen by chance in fact, from the  ashes it rose again, more splendid than before. 

During the Napoleonic domination, the theatre officially became the State Theatre. La loggia was built to celebrate the Emperor’s visit and the auditorium was decorated in French colours.

In 1996, the theatre was damaged by an arson attack it was decided to rebuild it ‘as it was and where it was’ the same as Campanile di San Marco after its collapse. 

5 curiosities about La Fenice Theatre

The La Fenice Theatre has several curiosities to tell, here we have chosen to report the most unexpected ones. 

  1. The Fenice’s historical archive is located in a different building from the theatre and survived the two fires. Incredible, but true, inside there are all, but really all, the documents relating to the history of the theatre: from its birth to the present day.
  2. The doors we enter through today were once not those of the main entrance. It seems strange to think of it today, but as was the case with all Venetian palaces, the entrance door par excellence was the one overlooking the water because all the nobles used to travel by gondola and not by foot, like the servants. It is no coincidence, in fact, that all the facades of Venetian palaces facing the Grand Canal are extremely beautiful and well-kept, as opposed to those facing inwards, towards calli and campi.
  3. The last fire not only brought major damage, but also the opportunity to discover some very old frescoes, depicting Dante in Hell, which you can now see in the bar room.
  4. The premiere of La Traviata was right here at La Fenice Theatre on 6 March 1853, but contrary to what one might think today, it was a real flop! In fact, the spectators booed for a long time and poor Giuseppe Verdi was really hurt.
  5. The name La Fenice was chosen for a very specific reason: to communicate the rebirth of the Nobile Società dei Palchettisti. This once had the management of one of the most luxurious and popular theatres of the late 18th century stolen from under it: the Teatro San Benedetto, which passed into the hands of the Venier family who owned the land on which it stood. The Noble Society of the Palchettisti did not give up and therefore decided to have the most beautiful theatre in all of Venice built, which would have represented their rebirth.


We at the Hotel Arcadia love to treat ourselves to an evening at the La Fenice Theatre, at least once a year. Crossing its threshold is always a strong emotion that sparks amazement and wonder, because this theatre is a magical place, exuding history and music from every drape and every box. 

If we have intrigued you, don’t hesitate to ask us for more information about tickets or dress code, or perhaps some other curiosity related to the history of this unique theatre. We are waiting for you at the reception!